Caught the Bird-Magic documentary on HBO the other day. All I can say is: Terrific, absolutely terrific.Watching it I was reminded just how fast time goes by. Hard to believe that Michigan State-Indiana State was more than 30 years ago. Scary to think that Bird and Magic were in their NBA primes 25 years ago.I wasnt a Celtics fan growing up, but I became one after I started watching Bird. I had never seen anyone play like him, and likely wont ever again. Ditto for Johnson, but he was on another coast.I studied Bird. I just kept track of Magic.The Bird-Magic documentary took me back decades, and made it seem like it all happened yesterday. Watching Bird-Magic reminded me of just how once-in-a-lifetime that rivalry was Bird and MagicCeltics and Lakers.The best thing about Bird-Magic was that it not only brought back memories of the players themselves and the games they played in, but I was also reminded of where I was during those times. And what I was doing.I remember where I was - Doug Kubinaks basement - when the Celtics beat the Lakers in Game 7 in the 1984 Finals. I remember the time I drove 15 hours - from Reading, PA to Pontiac, Mich. - to watch Game 6 between the Celtics and Pistons in the 1988 Eastern Conference finals.And because Bird and Magic were so inextricably linked, I remember where I was -- an office building in downtown Oakland - when I heard Johnson had contracted the HIV virus.Everything came together, not just that we were dealing with two great players and two great teams. But there was so much more to it. There was the race issue. There was the fact that one guy was doing it on one coast and the other on another.There was the wonderful commitment both guys had to passing and teamwork, which came at the perfect time to a league in trouble. There was Bird, who was quiet and kept to himself. And there was Magic, who was upbeat and outgoing.There was blue-collar Boston against Hollywood Los Angeles. There were the seeds of the rivalry, planted while both were in college.Watching the Bird-Magic documentary made me realize theres nothing like that today - in any sport. It was a rivalry so fierce, and so clearly between the two best players and teams, that you paid attention even if basketball wasnt your cup of tea.Lets face it, theres never again going to be anything like Bird-Magic. Never. Thats what makes the Bird-Magic documentary so good: It takes you back to a time when basketball was as close to perfect as it can ever get.-- Matt SteinmetzWhat's your take? Email Matt and let him know. He may use it in his weekly Mailbag.
Magic-Bird Borders on Perfection
March 12, 2010, 8:18 pm